Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Gallacher rises to the Challenge

Stephen Gallacher has been named The 2014 European Tour Golfer of the Month for January after equalling a nine hole scoring record on the way to becoming the first player to successfully defend the Omega Dubai Desert Classic since the event began in 1989. Gallacher emulated José María Cañizares, Joakim Haeggman and Simon Khan by playing nine holes in nine under par – gathering seven birdies and an eagle to come home in 28 against the par of 37 in a third round 63 on the Emirates course and he completed a famous victory the following day with four birdies in his last eight holes for a 72 and a 16-under par total of 272. The 39-year-old Scotsman, who receives an engraved alms dish and a Jeroboam of Moët & Chandon champagne, is the second recipient in the 30th anniversary year of an award given to the European Tour member judged to have produced the outstanding performance each calendar month throughout the season. Gallacher, who was also tied second in the 2012 Omega Dubai Desert Classic and is now 55 under par for his last 12 rounds on the Emirates course, said: “I am really pleased to be named The European Tour Golfer of the Month for January especially given some great performances by players both in South Africa and the Desert Swing events.  “To be picked ahead of the likes of Louis, Pablo and Sergio, who were all winners last month, means a lot to me and I am very grateful to be recognised in this way. The Omega Dubai Desert Classic and the Emirates Golf Club is obviously a special event for me and to be given this award makes it an even more memorable month.” The European Tour Golfer of the Month Panel, comprising members of the Association of Golf Writers as well as commentators from television and radio, focus their attention on winning performances in The Race to Dubai on The European Tour International Schedule – South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen (Volvo Golf Champions) and Spaniards Pablo Larrazábal (Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship) and Sergio Garcia (Commercial Bank Qatar Masters) were also contenders – while also taking into account performances worldwide. Renton Laidlaw, commentator for The Golf Channel, said: “Louis Oosthuizen’s performance was remarkable, Pablo Larrazábal won with Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson breathing down his neck and Sergio Garcia produced a sparking finish, but Stephen Gallacher became the first player in 25 years to defend the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and he did it with two back nine’s to die for in the third and fourth round against arguably the strongest field of the month. Stephen is an excellent ambassador for The European Tour, he dug deep on the final day and he fully deserves to be The European Tour Golfer of the Month for January.” Iain Carter, Golf Correspondent of BBC Radio Five Live, said: “Louis Oosthuizen’s birdie-birdie finish for a successful title defence in Durban was thrilling stuff on a great course. Pablo Larrazábal showed how he has matured into a fine player with his Abu Dhabi victory and Sergio Garcia’s tenacity to win the play-off in Qatar was outstanding. But the vote goes to Stephen Gallacher. It was a huge week for Dubai golf which is at the heart of The European Tour and it was fitting the field contained such a stellar list of former champions. Stephen Gallacher was inspired in the company of Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods and on the Saturday produced arguably the greatest ten hole sequence The Tour has seen with his birdie at nine being followed by a nine under par inward 28. It’s a win that could provide a Launchpad to a Ryder Cup debut in his native Scotland and in my opinion he is a very worthy European Tour Golfer of the Month for January.” Spain’s Miguel Angel Jiménez, winner of the December award, and Gallacher will now be considered with the next ten monthly winners for The 2014 European Tour Golfer of the Year Award which was won last year by Sweden’s Henrik Stenson.


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